Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Bourges, Cher, France into a successful bourgeois family who encouraged her and her sister Edna Morisot in their exploration of art, she demonstrated the possibilities for women artists in avant-garde art movements at the end of the 19th century. Once Morisot settled on pursuing art, her family did not impede her career.
By age 20, she met and befriended the important landscape painter of the Barbizon school, Camille Corot, who introduced her to other artists and teachers. She took up plein air techniques and painted small pieces outdoors either as finished works or as studies for larger works completed in the studio.
Morisot's first acceptance in the Salon de Paris came in 1864 with two landscape paintings, and she continued to show regularly in the Salon until 1874, the year of the first impressionist exhibition.
She was acquainted with Édouard Manet from 1868, and in 1874 she married Eugene Manet, Édouard's younger brother. She convinced Manet to attempt plein air painting, and drew him into the circle of acquaintance of the painters who became known as the impressionists. However, he never considered himself an impressionist or agreed to show with the group.
Morisot, along with Camille Pissarro, was one of only two artists whose work exhibited in all of the original impressionist shows.
Like Mary Cassatt, during her lifetime, Berthé Morisot was relegated to the category of "feminine" artists because of their usual subject matter — women, children, and domestic scenes. However, as a doctrinaire impressionist, Morisot painted what she saw in her immediate, everyday life. As a woman securely in the "haute bourgeoisie" she saw domestic interiors, holiday spots, other women, and children. Without exception, her subject matter shows the equivalent of that of her impressionist colleagues. Edgar Degas, the dandy male bourgeois, painted rehearsals of the ballet, horse races, and nude women in apartments (rather than studios). Claude Monet painted his garden, his children, and his neighbor's haystacks. Female impressionists painted their social milieu in a way consistent with the impressionist approach to subject matter.
Today, her paintings can sell for more than $4 million.
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